"I am inspired so much by street fashion and all the girls that work here as well. They all have unique styles."
Wandering around downtown Holland is one of my favorite things to do in Michigan. Sweet shops, delicious restaurants but mostly this feeling of small town, community...an appreciation and pride in 'staying local'. One of my favorites on 8th is Frances Jaye. A huge feature is that they carry men and women's clothing/accessories making it the perfect stop for Doug and me.
I met up with Jenny who is the owner of the store. She is everything cool, sweet, interesting, and beautiful wrapped up in one individual. You can see her unique style and keen eye for fashion enveloping every inch of the store. Oh and speaking of the store: if you haven't been, it's like a gallery. Only in this gallery you're allowed to hold, wear, adventure in, and experience life in the art. Head to Holland, say hello to Jenny, and enjoy the magic that is Frances Jaye!
What is the history and story of the store?
My mom owned a store when I was growing-up. I started working there at 15 and have been in retail ever since. It’s the only job that I have ever done. I am one of those lucky people who always knew this is what I wanted to do.
I went to Calvin and studied Business. I loved Urban Outiftters and decided I wanted to work there. I started as a Sales Associaste and stayed there for 10 years…made super good friends and learned a lot. I ended up being a District Merchandiser. Essentially, I managed the way that 13 stores looked.
The turning point was when I was on a trip to Australia with my mom. I had this realization that I didn’t want to go back to work. It had been 2 weeks away…I should have been super excited to get back. That’s what identified this store. I did research starting in February, looked for a space, and moved in August. The store opened 6 months later. In the beginning it was just my mom and I. Essentially for the first two years I worked every hour the store was open. Now, we have a full staff of 5 and I’m able to do things like go on a 2-week honeymoon because of them. They do a way better job when I’m not here-I came back and there were only a couple things for me to do.
-During this her Assistant Manager was vehemently shaking her head no :)
For someone who hasn’t been here before, how would you describe your aesthetic?
I usually say it’s very unique. I try to find pieces that people won’t find anywhere else but also classic.
Where does your style + fashion inspiration come from?
I am obsessed with everyone French right now. Jeanne Damas! She’s so classic and beautiful. I love anyone who is able to age gracefully…I am trying to do that in my own life. Finding my style without looking ‘too young’. I am inspired so much by street fashion and all the girls that work here as well. They all have unique styles.
Any favorite trends right now?
Jumpsuits! I call them adult jumpsuits because I probably shouldn’t be in a romper but a jumpsuit, yes.
-They have the cutest one ever there right now that Jenny showed me. It like a light chambray looking material with a substantial tie on the front. OMG.
What are some of your favorite places in MI to venture to?
My favorite beach is Laketown or Douglas-both are beautiful. To eat: El Huarache here in Holland has the best Mexican food…if you go try one of the Mexican popsicles. Also love Everyday People in Douglas and Phil’s in Saugatuck. Roan and Black in the summer-they have really great openings on Saturday nights and the owners there are great! Spring Sweet is a great store-plus she’s amazing.
When you aren’t at the store, what are you up to?
Maybe running, force cuddling my cat Fritz, travel (she just got back from Portugal because she's the coolest; it looked DREAMY!) and family of course. My husband Josh and I are super close with our families so we see them a lot.
What’s the toughest and best part about being a small business owner?
The best part is that I don’t do just one thing. I do 800 things a day each in a different vein. I guess that’s also probably the worst thing-it’s up to you. If the computer breaks…there’s no IT department to call. But, what I love is that I have a network of fellow storeowners that have become great friends. It’s nice to be able to talk with them and know they will understand.
ABOUT TO MAKE YOUR DAY: I'm teaming up with Frances Jaye for a $50 gift card giveaway!
How to enter:
1. Like my photo on Instagram
2. Follow @francesjaye
3. Follow @ashleywierenga
4. Want extra entries? In the comments tag friends who you think should know about the giveaway. Each tag is an extra-entry (up to 3).
Boring rules stuff: winner will be randomly selected. Must be 18+ to enter, complete the instructions above, and not be a robot.